Fire danger period likely to start early for Ballarat

BALLARAT residents need to start preparing their property for the fire season within the next two weeks, fire authorities say.

The CFA has urged people in the City of Ballarat, Golden Plains, Hepburn and Moorabool shires to start cleaning their properties, with fire restrictions due to come into effect soon.

CFA District 15 operations manager Geoffrey Gray said the onset of hot weather, such as the forecast this weekend, was a clear call for residents to be prepared.

“The hot weather spurts we have experienced in recent weeks just goes to show it doesn’t take much for vegetation, in particular grasslands, to dry out in these conditions,” he said.

“Only a few weeks ago, people were talking about the excellent spring rains and the green countryside. Now they’re talking about the heat and the rapidly yellowing landscape.”

Farmers needed to ensure their equipment complied with the fire danger period requirements, including having a water extinguisher or knapsack nearby and exhaust systems that comply with regulations and are free of mechanical defects. 

Farmers were also urged to check any burns in the last few months involving trees or stumps – fires have started from old burn sites before fire danger periods.

Mr Gray said weather conditions could quickly change things and it was important that decisions were made now . 

“Not leaving early, particularly on a code red day may result in loss of life,” he said.

“Now is the time to get busy around their homes and to clean their gutters; clear leaf litter and other fine fuels from around homes; to remove flammable items such as paper, boxes and crates; and to store fuel supplies and chemicals away from houses.”

For more information on how to prepare and what to do in the event of a fire, visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au.

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